Sixteen years ago, Jan and I stepped off an airplane in Medford,
Oregon after four years of ministry in Europe to become pastors of a local
church. The total of our earthly possessions, apart from some books and a
single chair stored in my mother’s attic in Montana, were contained in the luggage
we carried. We soon settled into the routine and rhythm of pastoring a local
One day, shortly after we arrived, I was driving across a
freeway overpass when the Lord spoke to me.
He said, “I have called you to refresh, restore and release My
people.” I knew this was an assignment
for our local church in Medford, but I knew it was more. In the following years I would come to realize
this was a life-assignment I will carry with me until the end of my days.
Several years ago a man in our church brought me a
gift. He came from a ranching family and
had a branding iron made for me. It was
an iron with “3R” as its brand. I still
have that branding iron as a physical representation of the word the Lord gave
All of the goodness of God taking place in our lives today is
because we were branded by an encounter with the Spirit almost forty years
ago. Jan and I now carry multiple
brandings as we have transitioned through different seasons of life and
ministry that required a new anointing of the Spirit. We carry these brands with
us into every new experience of life. These brands are personal testimonies that declare
the only way forward was discovered through an encounter with God. We have
committed to never move forward until we have those encounters and the
accompanying words they release.
As you step into 2016 offer the Lord the unbranded parts of
your life and allow His Spirit to imprint you with a new assignment and a new
word for a new season. Capture those words and live them out to the best of
your ability. They will lead you forward
into a lifetime of encountering God. At the end of your days the marks of
the Spirit’s branding upon your life will be the evidence you have been faithful to His
calling for your life.